“Forgotten Hollywood”- Gigi is Back…

November 6th, 2013

Manny P. here…

215px-AmericanGigiPoster   Theater producers are planning a Broadway revival of the musical Gigi, and will open the sumptuous production at the Kennedy Center in Washington. The engagement announced Wednesday is slated to open in January 2015. They plan to bring Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Lowe’s stage play to Broadway later in 2015 for the first time in more than forty years.

   Eric Schaeffer of Washington’s Signature Theater will be the director. He guided the Kennedy Center’s revival of Follies that went on to garner eight Tony Award nominations last year. Playwright Heidi Thomas is reimagining the new production.

   Gigi, set in Paris, comes from the same composer and lyricist as My Fair Lady. The original novel by Colette began as a play starring Audrey Hepburn, and then became a movie musical that featured Leslie Caron (in the title role), Maurice Chevalier, Louis Jourdan, and Hermione Gingold. Gigi won a record-breaking nine Oscars at the 1959 ceremony; but, the record only lasted for a year, as Ben-Hur broke it with eleven Academy Awards.

   Thank heaven for this wonderful story…

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- A Movie Studio with Substance…

November 2nd, 2013

Manny P. here…

   One Hollywood film studio has commanded A-list talent since its inception — Elizabeth Taylor, Morgan Freeman, Sandra Bullock, Michael Douglas, Nicole Kidman — and they all worked for free. What studio head has such pull? It’s Rabbi Marvin Hier, the mini-mogul of Moriah Films, the movie division of the Simon Wiesenthal Center.

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   Founded by Hier in 1981, Moriah Films has won two Academy Awards for their historical documentaries. He established the movie studio a few years after opening the Wiesenthal Center in 1977. He planned a slide show about the Holocaust, when Fay Kanin, then president of the film academy, suggested he consider making a movie instead. US Senator John Warner was involved with the Wiesenthal Center at the time, and was married to Elizabeth Taylor. She became the narrator for Genocide, which won the Oscar for Best Documentary Feature.

   The dozen movies Moriah Films has made attracted such notables as Michael York, Kevin Costner, Whoopi Goldberg, Brooke Shields, Dustin Hoffman, Anne Bancroft, Richard Dreyfuss, Patrick Stewart, Ed Asner, Martin Landau, and Ben Kingsley. Its latest production, The Prime Ministers: The Pioneers, featuring the narration of Sandra Bullock and Christoph Waltz, opens Wednesday in Los Angeles, and travels to more cities next month. Kingsley, Douglas, and Waltz, have offered their talents a couple of times.

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   The Wiesenthal Center, a human-rights organization providing Holocaust education and fights anti-Semitism, began its deep ties to Hollywood when Frank Sinatra and Taylor were on the original board of directors and made introductions throughout Hollywood. Today, movie moguls Jeffrey Katzenberg and Ron Meyer link the Wiesenthal Center to the film community. Moriah’s productions have been screened theatrically, and broadcast around the world on Showtime, HBO,Starz/Encore, as well as, German, French, Russian, Chinese, and Israeli television outlets.

   Hier has fond memories of watching Roy Rogers’ pictures at New York’s Palestine Theater as a boy, and remains a movie fan today. But Moriah Films aims to do more than entertain. He said it’s important to put Jewish history on film to reach worldwide audiences for years to come.

   We have to agree…

Until next time>                               “never forget”

“Forgotten Hollywood”- AFI Fest 2013 Cinema Legacy Lineup!

November 1st, 2013

Manny P. here…

   AFI Fest 2013 is right around the corner! Held from November 7th – 14th, it’s an annual celebration of international cinema from modern masters and emerging filmmakers. AFI FEST 2013 will feature nightly red-carpet galas, special screenings, and celluloid tributes.

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   This year, they also have an impressive movie legacy line-up:

marypoppins11~ MARY POPPINS (11/09 – 1p at the TCL Chinese)  On August 27th, 1964, this Walt Disney production debuted at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, and it exploded into the national consciousness. Though, Walt had made live-action motion pictures for over a decade, director Robert Stevenson’s sumptuous musical became one of Disney’s finest contributions to American cinema. They received 13 Oscar nods, including Best Picture; and it won five, including a Best Actress statuette for Julie Andrews.

   Initial attempts to adapt the book were met with resistance from author P.L. Travers. This is dramatized in AFI FEST’s Opening Night screening of SAVING MR. BANKS, starring Tom Hanks.

thecourtjester1~ THE COURT JESTER (11/10 – 12p at the Chinese 1)  Actor Danny Kaye stars as an ex-circus performer in medieval England who joins a band of forest rebels seeking to overthrow a corrupt king and his dastardly minions, including the scheming Lord Ravenhurst (Basil Rathbone). Highlights include Kaye’s musical intro; a thrilling sword duel between Rathbone and Kaye; and passages of classic wordplay, such as The pellet with the poison’s in the vessel with the pestle; the chalice from the palace has the brew that is true!

   The Oscar-winning writing team of Norman Panama and Melvin Frank produced and directed this musical-comedy spoof of Hollywood swashbucklers. Shot in high-resolution VistaVision.

thelastemperor11~ THE LAST EMPEROR (11/10 – 3p at the TCL Chinese)  For the 25th anniversary of the international release of this visually sumptuous epic about Pu Yi, China’s final sovereign, the motion picture has been restored with re-mastered sound. This process was supervised by director Bernardo Bertolucci and famed cinematographer Vittorio Storaro. Depth and dimension have been added with 3-D conversion, enriching the on-location footage.

   The resulting tapestry was awarded nine Oscars, including Best Picture. It also featured the acting talents of Peter O’Toole.

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   FREE tix are available every day through Closing Night at AFI FEST 2013. No pre-assigned time slot is needed to access tickets between November 7th – 14th. Limit of two tickets per screening at the AFI FEST AT&T Box Office – Hollywood & Highland Center, 6801 Hollywood Blvd., Suite 223, Hollywood, CA 90028 (10a – 10p).

Until next time>                               “never forget”